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April 7, 2008

Collection of Native American Legends

0803Legends.jpgThe United Cherokee Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation in northeast Alabama has a small web presence, but they have accumulated a large collection of Native American legends; more than 2,000 tales organized by region. If you don't know where to start, I recommend some of the many Coyote stories. That most western tribes have a Coyote character reflects the range of the coyote population. In the myths and legends he is usually devilish or foolish but very human. Sometimes his intentions are good but at other times not so much.

United Cherokee Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation Online Collection of Legends
Coyote's Sad Song to the Moon (Pueblos)
Coyote And The Swallowing Monster (Sahaptin)


Coyote Leads the Salmon Upriver [Legend] from the Flickr page of Jim Carson

March 6, 2008

Design and the Elastic Mind

0803Flybot.jpgA new exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York takes a look at how cutting-edge science is affecting design, which may ultimately change our everyday lives. Most of the items in Design and the Elastic Mind might never reach that point. Some are just a step above novelty, like rings made from a loved one's bone tissue and a honeycomb vase made by bees. Others have more practical applications: Harvard's Flybot, developed with funding from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is the first microrobot to replicate insect flight. Robert Lang's innovative origami calculations have been applied to creating a compact telescope and folding airbags.

The sleek webpage itself is worth a look as it lets you glide through concepts according to several interwoven themes.

Design and the Elastic Mind

June 5, 2007

Another Record Year For Broadway

Broadway.jpg As the blog NewYorkology pointed out last week, Broadway set another attendance record for the 2006-2007 season (May 29, 2006-May 27, 2007). Attendance rose 2.6% to 12.31 million. That’s nearly double the attendance number that Broadway theaters slumped to during the 1985-1986 season.
At least half of all people in attendance during 2006-2007 were tourists. Most people (10.8 million tickets) attended musicals. Only 1.5 million tickets were sold for plays. The average ticket price rose to $76.23 and theaters grossed $938.5 million.
You can find Broadway season statistics from 1959 through 2006 on page 240 in the 2007 World Almanac.

2006-2007 Broadway Theatre Season Results (League of American Theatres and Producers)

Broadway has record year (Variety)

Times Sq. & tkts from Rosemanios' Flickr stream

May 11, 2007

A Citadel of Civilization

Bird%20in%20Space.jpgThat's what President Franklin Roosevelt called the Museum of Modern Art when it first opened at its current digs, 11 West 53rd St. in New York City, on May 10, 1939. "Crush individuality in society and you crush art as well,” Roosevelt said in the radio address. “In encouraging the creation and enjoyment of beautiful things we are furthering democracy itself. That is why this museum is a citadel of civilization." Take that, fascists!

The opening exhibition, entitled "Art in Our Time," was timed to coincide with the influx of tourists to the World’s Fair in nearby Flushing, Queens. Planned as a summary of modern art since the late 1800s, it included pieces by many artists that still make the MOMA a popular destination: Alexander Calder, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Duchamp, and Picasso to name a few.

MOMA has a very nice online archive of its art. I found a New York Times article from 1939, in which the museum’s first director, Alfred Barr Jr., chose some examples from "Art in Our Time" that he believed were good examples of modern art. I can’t reproduce the page here, but I found most of the pieces on the MOMA website, like Brancusi’s “Bird in Space” (right).

Click through for the rest, with Barr’s remarks.

Continue reading "A Citadel of Civilization" »

April 19, 2007

Through the Eyes of Degas and Monet

Artistic%20Vision.jpgAn ophthalmologist professor at Stanford University has proposed that those broad brushstrokes and impressionistic, fleeting scenes painted by Edgar Degas and Claude Monet in their later years were caused more by vision troubles than artistic vision. Basing his research on historical documents, Michael Marmor simulated with Photoshop how the artists may have perceived their own paintings.

According to Marmor, Monet was diagnosed with cataracts “that worsened steadily over the decade from 1912 to 1922” before he had surgery in 1923. Cataracts blur vision and can add a yellowish hue to sight, two handicaps that Monet attempted to compensate for in his art.

Marmor diagnosed Degas as having “progressive retinal disease that caused central (macular) damage” that resulted in less detailed, and more splotchy paintings, like After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself to the right with Marmor’s rendering of how Degas might have seen it below.

The full article and more photos can be found in the Archives of Ophthalmology but a subscription is required. The San Francisco Chronicle has also posted some images along with an interview.

Vision vs. visionary -- see what Monet, Degas saw (SF Chronicle)
Eye diseases gave great painters different vision of their work, Stanford ophthalmologist says (press release)
Ophthalmology and art: simulation of Monet's cataracts and Degas' retinal disease (Pub Med)

About Art

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The World Almanac in the Art category. They are listed from newest to oldest.

Agriculture is the previous category.

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Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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